2008 — 11 Mar: Busier Tuesday, and repairs under way

With luck1 I can now start some of the repair work on my failed PC. By the way, it turns out that the Knoppix Live CD I downloaded and burned yesterday isn't too good at talking to SATA drives. <Sigh> Meanwhile:

A final reminder:

In the wake of my PC crash...
If you asked me to do something via an email message to me more than six days ago it would be a really smart move to assume that I lost your email so you'd better ask me again. Computers, heh?!

David Mounce

It seems very probable that there are two (at least) bad sectors on the hard drive. One has rendered a Windows subdirectory (windows / system32 / config) unreadable and that has been enough to stop XP from booting. The other appears to have clobbered my email exchanges between my good chums Carol and Mike (who knows why?) or, at least, trashed the subdirectories containing the info XP needs to be able to find those exchanges. I've just (midnight or so) finished manually rebuilding the contents of my Thunderbird Address Book, so at least I have everyone back, as it were, in their rightful place. That's enough to be going on with for a while...

In a way, the entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the small moments of spare time that are sprinkled through modern life parallel the pharmaceutical industry. A growing chorus of mental health specialists has begun to question whether normal sadness and social anxiety are being transformed into disorders that people believe need to be cured — by the companies offering elixirs.

Carolyn Y. Johnson writing The joy of boredom on Boston.com

Give me boredom over the joy of PC Windows trouble-shooting any and every time. G'night.

Let data battle re-commence

It's now 10:24 and I'm up and running rather better than my poorly HP machine. It's currently sitting in Brian's ham radio workshop in thorough disgrace. Brekkie is loaded. Snail mail is read (Toyota in Germany want Christa to fill in a detailed questionnaire about the new car, and my gas and electricity bills are going up). Toyota insurance have just rung to see if I'm proceeding with the bumper repair from my altercation with that Carphone Warehouse bollard back when Christa was in the hospice. (I'm currently leaving the cosmetic hole as a badge of dishonour.)

It's a grey day with loads of rain in the offing. My intelligent government is suggesting its newly-adult citizens swear an oath of allegiance to the monarch and the country. Don't they have even more intelligent and important things they could be doing? Have they not read the sorry tale of loyalty oaths in that excellent guidebook to modern life, Joseph Heller's "Catch 22"? I cordially invite them to try to get me to do this bizarre and ridiculous and pathetic and hilariously stupid thing! I can hear Christa laughing, too.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." (See Boswell's Life of Johnson and the entry for April 7th, 1775.) Ambrose Bierce (of Devil's Dictionary fame), added: "With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first." Not to be left out, HL Mencken added "But there is something even worse: it is the first, last, and middle range of fools."
I can only add that the only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history. And (at 17:03) I find a soundbite from the Tories; it seems they fully agree with me on the innate stupidity of this "synthetic patriotism" proposal — it must be time to change my opinions again!


On to matters of far greater local importance. Having failed to navigate the HP web site support pages2 (lacking salient data like model product code) I've just ordered a SATA/PATA external HDD enclosure to stuff the HP's disk into for further data sucking by direct attachment to the Gateway Windows system. It should arrive on Thursday. This seems slightly more direct a solution than temporarily loading Ubuntu and then copying files from the faulty drive to a network drive, and then via Brian's wife's PC system to my external NTFS disk. And then driving home clutching that drive to my bosom. It may even permit me to run CHKDSK on the errant disk — who knows? Meanwhile, I've plenty to do with the data so far rescued!

Ouch! That hurts... dept.

Seen on Scott Mace's journal: "The next generation is still concerned about privacy, but is more willing to use cloud computing services despite their concerns. And as far as reliability, or availability, who's lost more data in the past twenty five years — service providers, or personal computer owners whose flaky hardware and bad backup habits conspire every day to erase millions of files by accident?"

Well, perhaps not millions in my case, but I take his point.

Minor adventure... dept.

I nipped out in between the showers at about 14:00, getting as far as Eastleigh — and parking, for the first time, on a street rather than in the multi-storey at the Swan Centre. (By the way, Christa, progress is occurring on that cinema construction. And I got my new "smellie" delivered, which is faster than we ever managed before.) What else? To give the Yaris a little bit of a run, I pootled back via Otterbourne, Hursley, the Potter's Heron and Hocombe Road. So my total mileage is now 5,992 (I thought I'd passed the 6,000 mark, but that's pretty close). A few edibles from Tesco will make a change (I don't yet know their shelf layout for efficient basket filling, but I managed). And some items for the upper four inches (as Big Bro refers to the grey matter):

So, plenty of reading for tonight's bathtime! But now it's time (17:42) to pre-heat the cooker ahead of this evening's lamb roast experiment. With, if you're reading this Christa, plenty of fresh vegetables.

I sported a button in the 1960s that said, "Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you". Watch the watchers here. Or get mapping with them, here.

As for Windows v. Linux as a server, boggle your eyes with this. (Better details here.) Plus this deliciously-judged satirical comparison between Microsoft Paint and the GIMP. At least, it had better be satire...



1  And a marathon session with Brian's help, of course, last night.
2  What is it, he asked innocently, about the inverse relationship between the size and wealth of a corporation and the usability of their external customer interfaces? To be fair, there is one link that purportedly allows you to email the Chief Executive directly. I may yet try it.